Playlist: The Best of Funeral For A Friend

Playlist: The Best of Funeral For A Friend

This month, Welsh post-hardcore band Funeral For A Friend bid farewell as they embark on a farewell tour which sees them hitting up major UK cities where they will perform their two most celebrated albums; 2003s ‘Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation’ and 2005s ‘Hours.’

So after 15 years, seven albums, eight EPs and 14 members, Funeral For A Friend are soon to be no more. Nevertheless their influence will remain for years to come.

To celebrate their legacy, we asked a variety of bands to pick their favourite FFAF songs and to share their memories of the Bridgend band. We also find out how they have influenced an array of current and emerging bands.

This Year’s Most Open Heartbreak

Jake Murray (Beaumont)

My favourite FFAF song has to be ‘This Year’s Most Open Heartbreak’. That intro riff sounded just enough like Maiden to drag me in when I was younger, then get hit with this heavy riff out of nowhere, I loved it. One of those classic songs that just sums up that sort of scene Funeral were part of in one. Funeral always remind me of more carefree times in school, getting drunk off of cheap cider in a park on the weekends. A nostalgia trip every time I listen to them.

Benji Fletcher (Day Old Hate)
This song was the first song I heard by them, I must have been about 12 years old and I was just blown away. I think it was on Scuzz back in the day, the guitar work was just amazing, I’d never heard anything like it. The duelling guitars were absolutely mesmerising for a kid who had only really listened to Linkin Park and Papa Roach. I think this was the song that made me want to be in a band and play guitar, just pure awesomeness!

Kev Williams (Calling Apollo)
I remember watching the now defunct Welsh music show The Pop Factory and saw this band play this song. It just instantly blew my mind! It was the kind of music I was looking for, even though I didn’t even know what it would sound like. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the bands name and did hear it again for about 4 months. But when I found it again, it was the beginning of a 12 year-borderline obsession for me.

She Drove Me To Daytime Television

Connor Fisher-Atack (Allusondrugs)
This was the first song I ever heard by them. I remember being sat in my Grandma’s living room at the time with Kerrang on the TV, we never had sky in my parent’s house so this was the only time I could watch it. As soon as it came on I thought it was one of the heaviest things I’d ever heard and was instantly in love with the band, the mix of screamo and clean vocals were something I’d never heard before and it blew my mind. The day after I was straight round to Woolworths and bought the CD. Every time I listen to it, it always brings back memories of walking into school with it blasting through my headphones on my CD walk man!

Benji Fletcher (Day Old Hate)
This is probably my favourite song by FFAF. I had the debut album on repeat but this song for me was the standout track, the video for this was awesome as well! The lead guitar and the vocal melody in the pre-chorus and chorus is ridiculously catchy, I think I even got told off for humming the melody over and over again in class. I think this song open up my eyes to dropped tuning as well, I remember looking up the tabs and seeing that it was in drop C #! WHAT THE HELL IS C SHARP!! (The 13 year old me thought) Coincidently, it’s the tuning that we play in now, I think that shows the impact that Funeral have had on me as a musician. They’re going to be missed.

Alex Whiteford (Amaryllis)
Some of our fondest memories were going to shows at the London Astoria. I remember going to see Funeral For A Friend play there and just being blown away at how incredible they sounded and how everyone there was just so invested in the band. I just remember listening to them for weeks on end after that show. What a band!

Streetcar

Conor Peek (Cabin Boy Jumped Ship)
My favourite track by Funeral For A Friend has to be ‘Streetcar’ for sure. It takes me back to being a teenager who used to play the band relentlessly on my beat up iPod. FFAF will always hold a special place in my heart and I don’t think I’ll ever stop putting them in my playlists.

Dan James (Elessar)
The memory that stands out for me was watching the Download highlights on TV when they played main stage in 2006. I had already heard of them before but I wasn’t fully aware of how good they were. ‘Streetcar’ came on and instantly I was blown away. It was my intro to heavier/emo music. Straight away I got hold of as much of their music as I could. Trying not to sound cheesy, but they inspired me and gave me a lot of new ideas when it came to song writing.

Another song that stands out for me is ‘Escape Artists Never Die’. I remember playing a long on drums to that track almost as a daily practice routine. I just thought the feel was cool.

History

Alex Hardiment (Not Today)
Funeral For A Friend are really important to us as a band like I think they are to many bands in the British alternative scene. They were the pinnacle of post-hardcore and it’s going to be a big loss to this scene to see them leave. For our two tracks we decided to pick two that resonated greatly with us, which are ‘History’ and ‘Roses For The Dead’. These tracks are incredibly important to us musically and lyrically, both for very different reasons and they always managed to put more emotion into a four minute song than most ever could. They’re songs that have stuck with us throughout many years and will stick with us for years to come. RIP Funeral For A Friend, we’ll miss you.

Our guitarist Mitch (Cundale) also wanted to mentioned that he cried heavily when he got to see History played live at Leeds in 2013 and I’ve heard rumours that it’s those tears that were responsible for all that mud, cheers Mitch.

Juneau

Sam Whittle (Vexxes)
FFAF are one of the first heavier bands I listened to. I couldn’t get enough of the melodies and the catchy choruses. They got me into rock and are partly the reason I’ve always wanted to write music and play in a band.

Orion Powell (City Of Ashes)
It’s hard to know where to start with a band like Funeral when you get into how influential they’ve been to an entire generation. I first discovered the band living in Canada through a friend of mine, Andrew, who was actually in the ‘Streetcar’ video. He played my some FFAF at a house party of his and I remember a heart, soul and incredible passion coming through despite his wobbly treble of his laptop speakers.

For me they were a game changer, I would spend hours after school in the empty classrooms overlooking Vancouver teaching myself to sing this ballsy style I had heard with Matt Davis’ lyrics in my head.

It presented a new type of storytelling I hadn’t heard before and opened up a new world of possibilities in terms of musical arrangement and being able to discuss, through music, the things that mattered to me. That was key to a kid in acting school who was being forced into musical theatre classes and jazz hands in a way that he rebelled against so aggressively against.

Over the past few years all of us in this band have seen Funeral play, seen them develop, and seen their joy on their faces to be on that stage. Personally, I will always feel indebted to them for the way they spoke to me from the Welsh valleys to the other side of the world.

Recovery

Ben Langford-Biss (As It Is)
My favourite track off of ‘Hours.’’ I was lucky enough to see FFAF play around this time in an intimate pub show in my hometown of St. Ives in Cornwall. I normally had to travel at least four hours for a decent show so to have them come to my hometown meant a lot. They played on a pub floor to maybe 100 people max. That’s still one of my favourite shows I’ve been to. I got to hang out with the band and they offered to buy me a drink but didn’t in the end ’cause I was underage at the time!

‘Hours’ was all I listened to for quite a while. So many school bus rides with my headphones in drowning out everything with this album playing on my green iPod mini.

Escape Artists Never Die

Johnny Correia (Cute Cute Death)
My favourite song has always been ‘Escape Artists Never Die’ even though I love all the songs they have written, that one always hits home. It just takes me back to a time when I was a lot younger and everything seemed possible. FFAF have been a massive influence for me, guiding the direction of music that I have listened to most of my life, and it goes without saying that it has influenced the type of music myself and CCD have ended up writing.

It is extremely sad to see them end, never experiencing new music from them again will leave a void in the music scene. They will be massively missed, being such a big part of so many people’s lives, including every single one of us in Cute Cute Death.

The Art of American Football

Paul Beaumont (Wood And Nails)
I think it’s been about 13 years since I first heard Funeral For A Friend, they appeared in a few reviews in Kerrang and then were featured on the cover as “the most exciting band in the world” or something similar, our internet connection wasn’t all that at the time so had to wait until the release of ‘Juneau’ as the single. I instantly went out and bought it on release day and they did in fact instantly become the most exciting band in the world to me. But it was track 2, a live recording of ‘The Art of American Football’ from the BBC that got me hooked, a lot of bands from that time had great singles but nothing else but this track showed what they could do and then some. I instantly went out and saw them on their next tour which was meant to be with The Movielife who I also loved, unfortunately they dropped out at the time and split up (again poor internet meant I had no idea when I showed up), but even then the show that came before ‘Casually Dressed’ was released showed the band were onto something big.

Red Is The New Black

Callan Milward (Weatherstate)
For me, Funeral have been flying the flag for touring British music for the past 15 years. They came around at a time when rock music needed them the most. They were very much representatives of a new wave of UK bands. The first time I heard ‘Casually Dressed’ I was instantly hooked and ‘Red Is The New Black’ always stood out as a favorite through my teen years. Its sad to see them go and at least I can say I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with them a few years ago in my old band. It’s gonna be tough to stomach the last few shows.

Harley Watson (Rosetta’s Ruin)
Funeral For A Friend were a staple on each of our playlists growing up for different reasons. They always touched a part of us music could only reach with our tumultuous emotions while growing up. ‘Red Is The New Black’ was one of the first FFAF songs I heard and I believed every word and would sing along for days. Later on in their career they shifted sound with tracks like ‘Pencil Pusher’ but kept some of the integral vibes that piqued the interest of a the teenager within while maturing with the scene. Aggressive bellows with clean vocals paired with cataclysmic riffs and harmonised guitars as inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden, what wasn’t to love? It was pure, British metal and we’re glad that they were able to fly the flag for us for so many years.

All The Rage

Symon Strange (The Dead XIII)
The guitar playing is incredible, the drums are tight, the bass gels it together, the vocals are emotionally charged but most importantly, the song writing is absolutely perfect. As with all Funeral For A Friend songs, even stripped back to its simplest chords and vocal melodies it would still be catchy as hell! All the amazing instrumentation and production are wonderful, at it’s core, an excellent example of their skill as songwriters.

Zandro Morreale (Triple Sundae & Lead Shot Hazard)
‘All The Rage’ was a real game changer in my life/ I was 13 years old when I first heard it and at that time I was still finding out how vastly different music could be. This song really changed my views on what music could be and without it I probably wouldn’t have become a drummer A fantastic opening to an incredible album!

Harry Rule (Antihero)
FFAF were big for all of us when we were growing up, I remember when FFAF came to a small venue in my hometown in late December 2007. That’s when I first got into them, the show was amazing and I have been a fan ever since, our drumemr Berrill was actually inspired to learn drums after his friend showed him the video for ‘Monsters’ on YouTube back in the day.

Captains of Industry

Kev Williams (Calling Apollo)
In the middle of their career, FFAF appeared to go through a musical identity crisis. They recorded 4 new songs for a “best of” album and this was one of them. These songs were the spark for their heavier style to come, although they were saturated with their melodic skills. The result, was perfect rock songwriting and ‘Captains of Industry’ is the best example. Rock bands should challenge themselves to write songs as good as this.

Drive

Rob Pascoe (American Graffiti)
My first run-in with Funeral was when they supported Iron Maiden in Cardiff way back in 2003. The unflinching commitment to the intensity of their live show (even as someone in the crowd whipped a shoe at Matt’s head) stuck with me, and has characterised their performances through the years. Intensity, however, is not the only trick up their sleeve. They’re masters of emotional resonance, and never more disarmingly so than in ‘Drive’ from the ‘Hours’ album. The lyrics deftly set the scene in this unconventional love story and, as the track builds, the emotional depth of the vocals seem to shake its very foundation. And also it’s wicked fun to wail along to on an acoustic.

Best Friends and Hospital Beds

Scott Daye (American Graffiti)
I properly got into Funeral just before the ‘Best Friends and Hospital Beds’ music video came out. I remember thinking that the teaser sounded huge, and waking up early specifically to watch the premiere. It absolutely blew my mind and I’ve been to all of their local shows since.

Waterfront Dance Club

Adam Bates (COPE)
What a song, from the build up of the intro into absolute riffage to a quality funeral chorus…such an all round great song.

Rookie of the Year

Adam Bates (COPE)
What a way to start an album! That first guitar progression is just awesome, then the way the drum tempo changes really kicks your teeth to then drop in to a slow and heavy chorus. Its genius!

Moments Forever Faded

Paul Beaumont (Wood And Nails)
I’d never seen a band unite all the major publications of its time like ‘Casually Dressed’ had. Metal Hammer, Kerrang, Rock Sound and even the NME all could not get enough of them, and I just think a song like this that would have been a single for a lesser band shows exactly why, the album is anthem after anthem. I first saw them perform this one in 2004 at the height of their ‘Casually Dressed’ period and played the album in full with a little known Frank Turner in Million Dead supporting. It’s sad to think that such a massive part of my adolescence is coming to an end but I cannot wait to get out next month and sing along to this album loud for one last time.

You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself

Justin Eastwood (Cold Summer)
I’ve always considered Funeral For A Friend to have had a massive influence on a variety of bands that have emerged under the wide umbrella of post[hardcore in the past decade or so, especially in the UK scene. Personally, I’ve found their last two albums to be amongst their best work, to me, the band kind of revisited their roots but still with the urgency that made people pick up and take notice in their early years.

So with this in mind I chose ‘You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself’ from their ‘Chapter & Verse’ album. I think with the subject matter(s) it touches upon around feminism and gender politics, coupled with the sad news that its off their swan song record as well.

Serpents in Solitude

Sam Christmas (Best of Enemies)
Funeral For A Friend are just one of those bands who KNOW how to riff. Me and Oli (NATIONS) would always stick ‘Serpents In Solitude’ on in the car and air guitar throughout the whole thing. When we were in college we basically wanted to be a FFAF tribute band. They’re a band we grew up with, and a band we’ll miss greatly.

Bullet Theory

Ben Langford-Biss (As It Is)
I vividly remember first discovering FFAF. I was staying at my grandparents and browsing the local HMV and I picked up the CD and just loved the cover of ‘Casually Dressed.’’ I weirdly felt an immediate connection to just the artwork and so bought it immediately. I’d never really listened to anything with screaming like that before and loved the rawness of it all. From the opening of ‘Bullet Theory’ I was hooked.

Gary Slade (Circle Of Reason)
It might be quite an obvious choice but I like the whole package, great lyrics, lots of emotion, I really like the spacing of lyrics, the double chorus, the heavy guitars in the middle. It just works, and it’s got a great video to accompany it. I managed to catch them live in 2014 and they played a great set of old and new, riffs a plenty. it was nice to hear their evolution over the years and they didn’t disappoint. I also have a cab that was owned by one of the members apparently, that I still use today! Great band.

Funeral For A Friend’s ‘Last Chance To Dance’ is nearly completely sold out:

April
05 Y Plas, Cardiff
06 Y Plas, Cardiff
08 The Ritz, Manchester
09 The Ritz, Manchester
10 O2 ABC, Glasgow
11 O2 ABC, Glasgow
13 Institute, Birmingham
14 Institute, Birmingham
May
20 The Forum, London (tickets)
21 The Forum, London (tickets)

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